• bschinagle

Public Education Isn't Perfect

After the New York City Department of Education shut down in-person instruction last week, I was contacted by people who were absolutely furious and wanted to SUE. I had to tell them to calm down, because that's not something you can do. In order to bring a law suit, the complaining party has to have a claim to a legal right for legal relief. It's called a "cause of action." In person instruction, like it or not, is not a legal right. Two recent cases decided in the Southern District of New York that confirm this. See L.V. v. N.Y.C. Dept. of Educ.,No. 19 Civ. 5451 (S.D.N.Y. July 17, 2020)(requiring district to deliver pendency services in person only if safety permitted) and J.T. v. DeBlasio,20 Civ. 5878(Nov. 13, 2020)(dismissing claims demanding damages for failure to deliver in-person services to students with disabilities). What are parents to do?

The U.S.Dept. of Educ. Covid guidance states that discussions about making up for regression can be had after this whole mess is over. Be prepared for your district to say that your child hasn't regressed. It's a miracle! To avoid this, keep records. Keep a calendar and write when the child does and doesn't get their related services. This would be an implementation failure. At the same time, create a record to show regresion by keeping track of your child's skills and your observations on a weekly basis. The goals in the IEP that have already been achieved are a good place to start, because if the child looses the skill the District says they achieved, that shows regression. There is no requirement that public education be perfect, but you can certainly take steps to make sure you get everything to which you and your children are legally entitled and ato ensure that your child really does make meaningful progress in education.

This isn't to say that a parent can't take any action; this is a job for your POLITICAL voice. Those living within the New York City Department of Education can write or call Chancellor Carranza, the Mayor's office and the N.Y.S. Education Department. Those in districts elsewhere can get involved in their local school boards.

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